The Play of Daniel, or Ludus Danielis, was originally created in the late twelfth century by "the youth" of Beauvais—the boys and young men who made up the cathedral choir. Probably performed for the Feast of Fools on January 1, it tells the story of Daniel, the mystery of the handwriting on the wall, the downfall of King Balthasar, and the terror of the lions' den. The text of this performance is based on an early thirteenth century manuscript from Beauvais, France (British Library, Egerton MS 2615).
In the section "Daniel Interpreting the Writing on the Wall," Daniel is brought to the King, who promises him great wealth if he can translate the writing on the wall. Daniel contemplates the mysterious message, then answers slowly, explaining that by keeping the sacred vessels looted by his father, Balthasar will suffer the same fate that his father did. The writings, Daniel says, foretell the end of Balthasar's life and his kingdom. Despite learning of his own doom, Balthasar keeps his promise to reward Daniel, and cloaks him with royal vestments.
Filmed on December 19, 2008 in the Fuentidueña Chapel of The Cloisters, this production was commissioned by Concerts at The Cloisters to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Play's modern premiere by Noah Greenberg and the New York Pro Musica Antiqua, which took place at The Cloisters in 1958.
Daniel: James Ruff | King Balthasar: Peter Walker | King Darius: José Lemos | Queen: Sarah Pillow | Princes/Envious Counselors: Sorab Wadia, Scott Mello, Zachary Wilder | Satraps: Elizabeth Baber, Amaranta Viera, Kris Gould, Sarah Gallogly, Amy Bartram | Magi/Soldiers: Pedro dAquino, Seth Katz | Angel with sword: Elizabeth Baber | Abacuc: Peter Walker | Abacucs Angel: Sarah Pillow | Lions: Pedro d’Aquino, Seth Katz
Stage Director: Drew Minter | Music Director: Mary Anne Ballard | Stage Manager: Joe Gladstone | Sets: Stephen Dobay | Costumes: Sascha Richter | Lighting: Brian Barnett | Costume Assistant: Christopher Ford | Master Carpenter: Rob Arena
Recorders: Rachel Begley, Daphna Mor | Shawm: Daphna Mor | Medieval lute: Daniel Swenberg, Amy Bartram | Psaltery: Lucy Cross | Rebec: Dongmyung Ahn | Rebec/vielle: Mary Anne Ballard | Percussion: Rex Benincasa
Video Documentation Production
Producer and Director: Christopher Noey | Editor: Jessica Glass | Camera: Wayne De La Roche, Jessica Glass | Gaffer: Ned Hallick | Sound Recording: Thomas Myers | Audio Mix: David Raymond | Production Assistants: Kate Farrell, Angela Kim